Day: August 18, 2010

Perverse or perfect? Celebs help Paul W. Downs make his case in “The Paul Downs Syndrome”

Opening with an outrageous performance-art piece, presented by an Oberlin student, Paul W. Downs lets audiences know he's not about to hold anything back in his one-man show, The Paul Downs Syndrome, currently in a limited run at the UCB Theatre in New York City. A short video with Downs playing all of the characters surrounding a newborn baby afflicted with the syndrome suggests that it manifests itself in "a series of seemingly unrelated episodes of perversion." What audiences get, in fact, is a look at several strong, confident, pointed characters who'd fit in just fine on the set of Saturday Night Live. Yevejegenja Yuevjskaya, an MTV Europe VJ who'd make a good replacement for SNL's current "Deep Dish" sketch, gives us insight in this video into the art and music of Tudu, who in the show is up for a Kids Choice Award in Europe. Roll this video for a glimpse at both characters: Downs also offers up tough NYPD detective The Rattler, who has a thing for babies; a blind guy on a Segway (how often do you see a Segway in a comedy show, or anywhere, in 2010?!); Mikey Starr, a seven-year-old music superstar who is pressured by his overbearing mother to deliver lines for an ad just right; and, oh, that's right, Downs also stars in separate video sketches with Vanessa Williams, Padma Lakshmi and...

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Briefly reviewed: “Oh My God, I Heard You’re Dying!” at the UCB Theatre

You know how they tell you to write a spec script if you want to get into the TV business? Chris Kelly, a staff writer at The Onion News Network who also has written for Matt Besser's Comedy Central pilot, has written a situation that would get great ratings in any contemporary sitcom with "Oh My God, I Heard You're Dying!" The show, currently playing at the UCB Theatre in New York City, finds the family, friends, co-workers and neighbors of Earl (played by a plastic dummy lying in a hospital bed) coming to grips with his impending death. What do you say to a dying man? What. Do. You. Say. It's one of those situations you don't think about until it's happening, which often leads to awkwardly humorous results. Darkly humorous, but funny nevertheless. Leslie Meisel, D'Arcy Erokan, Michael Hartney, Marcy Jarreau, Morgan Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones and Chris Kelly play the various people whose lives have intersected with Earl's. Meisel plays the loving wife, while Jones is the son who just wants to go to the bathroom in peace. But Lennon Parham, accidentally or on purpose, pretty much steals the show without even taking the stage as Aunt Debra, who delivers her hilarious final messages and revelations via Skype. OMG, indeed. See "Oh My God, I Heard You're Dying!" at the UCB...

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Watch all of “The Big Dog,” Funny or Die’s first long short, starring Charlie Sanders and Bob Odenkirk

Wait enough months, and eventually, Funny or Die will make good on its tease, in which it sanctioned the production of a lengthy short film, written and directed by Eric Appel with writer/star Charlie Sanders. Yes. "The Big Dog" is up in its 17-minute entirety. Also featuring Bob Odenkirk, Nelson Franklin (The Office, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Rich Sommer (Mad Men) and Jessica St. Clair (Best Week Ever). Read my previous interview with Charlie Sanders about "The Big Dog," then watch the full short film. Would you eat "The Big Dog"? Are you already eating it? Roll...

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